The Path to Romance by Gina Fluharty
This month the Jane’s are talking about romance and our journey to it. We’ll be answering some key questions: How did we find romance? What’s the first romance we read? Why do we want to write in this genre?
My mom had a shelf of books I was not allowed to touch. I guess she didn’t realize she was raising a somewhat oppositional/defiant child at the time. “No” is our motivation. “Don’t” will pretty much guarantee misbehavior. The book I wanted to get my hands on was “Mandingo” by Kyle Onstott. I’d pull it out, look at the cover, rapidly thumb through the pages and shove it back into place before she caught me. I’d figured out what it was about and since I couldn’t read that book, I grabbed my library card and headed into town. I was twelve. When I asked the librarian where to find “Mandingo” the whites of her eyes fairly blinded me. But she was a lovely and diplomatic soul. Instead of shaming me or leading me to pre-mature ruin, she led me to the back room where they kept all of the Harlequin paperbacks. Nirvana. Absolute Heaven. I didn’t know where to start first. Did I want the sleek and sexy Presents or the meatier American Romance? Was I even going to like romance? (DUH!) I couldn’t decide. She let me check out four so I picked out two of each. I devoured them. Read them so fast I think I got a blister on my index finger from turning the pages so fast. The story that stuck with me—and I bought my own copy that I still have—was Twice in a Lifetime by Rebecca Flanders. I love this story. And then I went back for more. That summer I checked out six books every three days. I was a tried and true romance junkie that no rehab could cure.
It’s a pretty short hop to see why I want to write in this genre. You write what you want to read, after all.
So that’s my tiny tawdry past. What’s yours?